- Iran asserts it will use advanced centrifuges in defiance of US factsheet, as former Secretaries of State Kissinger and Shultz critique ongoing negotiations
According to Fars News, on Wednesday Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the Chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran told the Iranian parliament that Iran would begin using its most advanced centrifuge as soon as the final agreement between the P5+1 goes into effect, contradicting the American parameters on the understanding between the P5+1 and Iran that was agreed upon last week. The parameters factsheet that the White House released last week clearly stated that “Iran will not use its IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, or IR-8 models to produce enriched uranium for at least ten years.” Iran’s most advanced centrifuge is the IR-8, which can enrich uranium 20 times faster than the IR-1 centrifuge. The use of advanced centrifuges would allow Iran to break out to a nuclear weapon in a much shorter amount of time, gravely undermining the one-year breakout criteria President Obama has set for the agreement.
In an article pointing out the problematic aspects and dire consequences of the emerging agreement with Iran, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz note that this one-year breakout criteria is vastly different from the original US position of granting Iran only a limited technical capacity corresponding to a civilian nuclear program. They argue that because the deal will leave Iran with much of its nuclear infrastructure in place, preventing Iran from breaking out will rely heavily on verification and monitoring. Iran has a history of successfully deceiving the international community so violations will be difficult to detect and enforcing compliance will be challenging because each violation will “prompt a debate over its significance.”
Furthermore, the notion of “snapping back” sanctions is misleading as restoring sanctions in cases of Iranian violations will be difficult and time-consuming since it may require a consensus among many different countries, several of which will resist restoring sanctions due to business and trade demands. Additionally, permitting Iran to continue centrifuge R&D during the agreement means that it will be able to develop advanced centrifuges that it could use to accelerate to a nuclear weapon as soon as the deal expires.
The two former Secretaries of State also warn that Sunni Arab states may “conclude that the U.S. has traded temporary nuclear cooperation for acquiescence to Iranian hegemony,” and will seek to match Iran’s nuclear capabilities, thereby triggering regional proliferation and creating more combustible rivalries between nuclear-threshold powers in an already unstable region. Rather than facilitating US disengagement from the Middle East, Kissinger and Shultz argue that such a new regional order will necessitate increased American involvement. Finally, they rebut the idea that a deal with Iran will lead to a productive partnership between the US and Iran, as our fundamental objectives are in conflict with those of the Iranian regime, which espouses a worldview that is intrinsically anti-Western.
The understandings reached last week regarding Iran's nuclear program are full of loopholes, according to a paper (.pdf) written yesterday for Harvard's Belfer Center by Dr. Ephraim Asculai, who worked for the Israel Atomic Energy Commission and is currently a senior research fellow for Israel's Institute of National Security Studies.
Asculai pointed to several specific loopholes. He noted that the number of centrifuges allowed by the terms of the deal would allow Iran a breakout time of less than a year. (This estimate is consistent with that of Olli Heinonen, former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.) While the understandings reached last week would limit the amount of plutonium produced by the Arak reactor, they don't prohibit other reactors that could produce plutonium.
Asculai also faulted the deal for failing to fully address the possible military dimension of Iran's past nuclear work, noting that "[f]or almost two years, the agreement Iran signed with the IAEA on resolving outstanding questions on this subject submitted by the IAEA to Iran has been largely ignored by Iran." He also noted that the understanding don't address Iran's missile development program at all, even though it is developing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload.
In addition to these specific critiques, Asculai questioned more general omissions within last week's understandings.
Aziz Kaddan, one of the co-founders of Myndlift, didn’t flinch when asked in front of an audience at the recent BrainTech conference in Tel Aviv how he plans to go up against the better-funded American companies with his alternative non-drug treatment for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Myndlift uses neurofeedback, also known as electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback, to train the brain to focus. It’s a computer-based technique developed and tested by NASA to improve attention, focus and learning. Kaddan, the 22-year-old phenomenon taking Israel’s brain-tech world by storm, knows the path to changing hyperactivity treatment is a tough one but he’s positive his app-based, wearable neurofeedback solution, coupled with specially tailored mobile games that only work through concentration, can increase attention levels with just 10 minutes of play time a day.
“I know that I have a product that has a value to a lot of people,” he said, from his co-working space for high-tech entrepreneurship and innovation at Tel Aviv’s public library. Myndlift’s idea is to get sufferers of ADD and ADHD off medications like Ritalin, which suppresses appetite and has other negative side effects, and help them focus their minds using a mobile app, neurofeedback and a brain-sensing wearable technology.
“Myndlift brings personalized neurofeedback training to mobile, making it easier for people with hyperactivity, professionals in demanding careers, students, athletes and anyone concerned about brain fitness to improve concentration abilities effectively without prescription drugs, inconvenience to visit specialized clinics and huge bills, thus saving thousands of dollars and tens of commuting hours,” according to the company’s elevator pitch. (via Israel21c)